Chocolate producer Godiva has plans to open 2,000 bars in which consumers can drink coffee and eat its pralines. The price for that worldwide growth however may be big: the company may have to leave Japan to finance that growth.
Coffee with chocolates
The Belgian chocolate brand, currently owned by Turkish group Yildiz, is looking for ways to expand. Godiva wants to grow quickly in markets such as North America and Asia as its current owner is carrying a heavy load of debt due to the difficult economic situation in Turkey.
Now Godiva has found a way towards growth with coffee bars: as many as 2,000 are planned worldwide according to The Financial Times. The chocolate brand's new top executive is a Starbucksveteran, who may be the driving force behind this new way. Godiva does have a lot of work to do: today, the chocolate company has only 40 bars that serve coffee and chocolate. There may not be many, but they are located in iconic places such as Harrods in London.
The new coffee bars are planned to measure between 140 and 230 square meters in size. The first of the new bars will be opened next year in New York. Afterwards, North America will be home to a third of the planned outlets. Another third is for the Asian market and the final third will be located in the rest of the world.
To finance that expansion, activities in Japan may have to be terminated. The Morgan Stanley bank has been commissioned to close a billion-dollar deal and is now in talks with potential investors. The contents of the deal remain unknown, but The Financial Times suspects the sale of the Japanese division, which is an established, fast grower. Godiva would keep brand rights in case of a sale.